Colin McCloud, an antique dealer on the road…
Southsea Lifestyle talks to Colin McCloud about his life as an antique dealer and his travels abroad.
‘I learnt about the antiques trade by trial and error, mainly error,’ said Colin with a wry smile, who was originally planning on a career as an insurance broker. ‘I was interviewed for a job with Rothschilds, for what was then their Persian office, but everything changed when the revolution began.’ Colin went on to open his first shop in Albert Road in 1975. He began with an upholstery business, but people kept enquiring if Colin had any furniture to sell, so he took over a nearby shop and began trading in antiques.
Despite missing out on a job in Persia, Colin was soon travelling the world looking for artefacts to ship back to the UK. ‘I believe I was the first dealer to go to China after Mao Tse-tung died. Also, India, one of my favourite countries has some wonderful antiquities. As well as importing goods, Colin was exporting large quantities of furniture and collectibles to Europe and the US. ‘I needed more space, so we moved to a small warehouse in Goldsmith Avenue. Over the years we’ve had premises up and down the Avenue, from a former coal yard to our current place, which was once a banana warehouse (next to Johnstone’s Decorating Centre), plus we have a reclamation yard nearby.
‘Apart from buying and selling antiques, the reclamation aspect of the business has become increasingly popular, we probably have the largest selection of antique and retro doors on the southcoast, plus a huge number of reclaimed floorboards, bricks, gates, tiles, and fireplaces. Not forgetting our paint stripping service, for doors and furniture. And powder coating – for metal items’ said Colin who was born in Dunoon in 1944. ‘Mum was from Portsmouth and Dad was in the Navy. Always dressed immaculately, and well spoken, Colin is one the last remaining dealers from 1970s. ‘Most of the antique dealers in the city that I knew back then have gone. Today I’m buying and selling to their sons’.
Sitting at his desk surrounded by at least a dozen grandfather clocks and an assortment of furniture and china, Colin looks happy and content. ‘Life takes you down a certain path and you often can’t make much sense of it at the time, but I’m glad I didn’t become an insurance broker’.
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